Weddings at St. Jonah
- Before any date is set for a wedding, the couple must speak to the priest. There are many days in which weddings are not normally performed, unless an emergency exception is granted by the bishop… and printing wedding invitations prior to confirming the date of the wedding will not constitue such an emergency.
- At least one of the partners must be a member in good standing of the parish. If the other partner is not an Orthodox Christian, he or she must at least believe in the Holy Trinity, and agree that the children will be raised in the Orthodox Faith — and furthermore, a blessing for the marriage will have to be first granted by the Bishop.
- If either partner has ever been previously married in the Church, and subsequently has divorced, they must have obtained an ecclesiastical divorce, and will need to have the blessing of the bishop prior to the wedding taking place.
- The couple will need to obtain a civil marriage license prior to the wedding, and have it on hand before the service.
- The couple must be willing to meet with the priest to discuss the seriousness of the sacrament of marriage and to prepare them for entering into marriage.
Preparing for the Service
- There must be two sponsors, one of each sex, who are Orthodox Christians in good standing. You may have non-Orthodox friends or family that you may wish to have stand with the wedding parties, but the actual sponsors must be Orthodox Christians.
- Unlike traditional western weddings, the bride is not “given away” by her father, although the father may escort her to the Narthex of the Church.
- Rings are exchanged, and unlike the usual western practice, wedding rings are worn on the right hand, rather than on the left.
- The parish has Russian wedding crowns, which the couple is welcome to use. If they wish to use Greek-style wedding crowns, this is acceptable too.
- If Russian crowns are used, the sponsors hold the crowns over the heads of the couple for a portion of the service.
- The service is done entirely according to the Orthodox Tradition, and so within the Church, there will be no special music selected by the couple, and no special vows for them to compose for the service.
- Photos and video may be taken of the service, but if you have a non-Orthodox photographer, you should probably discuss ahead of time what they will be doing during the service so that they do not interfere with the solemnity of the occasion.
- The parish hall is available for use for a reception, at no charge for the couple.
As with any sacrament, there is no charge for the service. The couple may make a donation of whatever amount they may desire, but this is not obligatory.